Now that Apple has officially announced its intentions to get into the home automation game with iOS 8 and HomeKit, new connected home product announcements are coming out of the woodwork. The latest announcement comes from Rachio, a Denver-based startup that’s been furiously making it’s way through various accelerator programs for the past year, and the creator of the Iro Smart Sprinkler Controller. Starting today, the sprinkler system goes on sale in nearly 1000 Home Depot stores across the US, and is also available online throuhg Rachio’s website.
Iro definitely isn’t the first smart lawn irrigation system we’ve ever laid eyes on, but as far as we can tell, it has definitely won the race to be the first on store shelves. At this point, there’s no other smart sprinkler system with comparable features on the market.
As far as features go, Iro is pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a connected sprinkler system. It’s super easy to set up, it syncs with you smartphone so you can control it from anywhere in the world, and does most of the complicated scheduling stuff for you automatically. But it’s also got a few features that make it considerably more advanced than your average sprinkler timer.
Thanks to its internet-connected brain, Iro knows what the weather conditions are like outside. It can tell if a thunderstorm just dropped two inches of rain, or if it’s going to be 100 degrees outside later in the day, and will adjust its watering schedule accordingly. This way, the sprinklers won’t come on when they don’t need to, and will always water at the best possible time for your lawn.
Rachio also equipped this badboy with geological smarts as well. Iro knows all the different types of soil in existence, and is programmed to water each of them in the most effective way possible. Sandy soil, for example, doesn’t hold water very well, so it’s better to irrigate your lawn frequently, but for shorter intervals. Similarly, clay, loam, and silt all benefit from different watering patterns. Based on your location, Iro can get a good idea of the soil composition underneath your lawn or garden, and will adjust its watering style accordingly.
The idea is that with all these smart features, Iro will use only the minimum amount of water needed to keep your lawn and garden looking pristine. We haven’t had a chance to test one out for ourselves just yet, but if this system cuts back water usage in any major way, the potential water bill savings could easily recoup the cost of the device the device ($249) in just a few months.
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